Should I add a True Bypass Looper?

How to use a True Bypass Looper

If your like me, you’ll want to use quite a guitar effects pedals but keep your signal chain clean. You will also want to make it easy to locate bad leads/pedals, so that your gig doesn’t have to stop when you have a problem. The solution could be to add a true bypass looper or to try and learn how to simplify your rig.


What is a True Bypass Looper?

As it’s name suggests, a true bypass looper removes the pedal from the chain in a way which doesn’t go though anything. So, no buffers, no long cable runs, nothing! You can learn more about the different types of loopers and how to build them by reading: How To Build A True Bypass Loop Pedal.



Why should we use them?

There are many ways to use one of these loopers, from allowing easy access to grouping common sounds into one footswitch, to cleaning a long signal chain, to providing an easy way bypass or mute. Let’s explore some of these ideas.



How can we add one to the pedalboard?

You might have seen photos of professional put together pedalboards where there’s a strip of footswitch at the bottom and pedals around it. That strip is a true bypass looper and in this application allows for pedals to be activated centrally while avoiding wild tap dancing movements! Also by having one or two pedals per loop, you are maintaining a cleaner signal path by only bringing in that one/two pedals. This is a cool way to build an easy to use rig while not investing in expensive MIDI switching gear which would take up more space on stage!


We can use a looper to group effect types together and therefore simplify the pedalboard. Say you’re running a compressor, a few overdrives, a tremolo, a phaser, and a delay or two. You could group the overdrive pedals into one loop, the tremolo and phaser into another loop and then use a third loop for the delay pedals. This way also makes it easier to set up sounds before you click them in.


You could run your whole pedal chain in a loop. This would enable you to switch to a clean tone in a second, regardless of the amount of pedals turned on!


Lastly, if you have a common sound which involve a few different pedals, you could group these pedals into one loop and therefore avoid tap dancing, while being able to switch to that guitar tone easily.


Which True Bypass Looper fits our situation?

While this is a tricky question to answer, it’s best to start with a simple single loop. You can learn how to build one or you can buy a one. Think though how you will use it overall, do you need to a really clean signal and therefore you’ll want something all singing, all dancing? Do you want to take it to the next level and add some preset abilities or change amp channels? If so, then you’ll need something like Joyo PXL8. If you decide to build your own, then your only limit is pedal board space!



Don’t do this!

Please, don’t forget to have at least one buffer in your pedal chain. Why? If you’re running though long two fairly long cables and a whole bunch of small cables, you’ll have a lot of capacitance. This means you’ll have a weaker signal and it will be darker. If you add one buffer you’ll see none of this and you’ll have a stronger brighter guitar tone. Personally, I like to use a Boss tuner pedal as both a buffer and a tuner – plus they can be used at either end of the chain.

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